3M Paying $1.2 Billion to Acquire Aearo

3M announced today it has reached an agreement with Aearo Technologies Inc. to acquire that company and all of its brands for $1.2 billion. Aearo, based in Indianapolis, is owned by funds advised by Permira, a global private equity firm, and company management. 3M, of St. Paul, Minn., said the purchase will be financed through a combination of cash and other borrowings.

Aearo makes hearing protection PPE and communication headsets, non-prescription and prescription safety eyewear, faceshields, respirators, fall protection equipment, and hard hats. Its Specialty Composites business provides engineered system solutions to control excess noise, vibration, shock, and heat. 3M stressed that acquiring Aearo will expand 3M's occupational health and environmental safety platform significantly, thanks to the eyewear and fall protection product lines. "It provides a broad platform for accelerated growth," the company's announcement said. "This acquisition enables 3M to provide industrial, military, and construction customers as well as consumers with a more complete personal protection solution."

"Aearo complements and significantly broadens our core safety and personal protection business, a space which is growing fast and of strategic importance to the company," said George W. Buckley, 3M's chairman, president, and CEO. "The combination of 3M's technology, our global reach, and well-known safety brand with Aearo's strong product portfolio and brands positions 3M as the global leader in personal protective equipment products. Our powerful international distribution network will enable us to enhance and leverage this asset going forward."

Aearo's brands include E-A-R, Peltor, AOSafety, and SafeWaze. Today's announcement said Aearo's sales have increased at a compound annual growth rate of more than 12 percent in the past five years to $508 million.

"Aearo's knowledgeable and experienced employees, along with its market-leading products and brands, will broaden our presence in the large and growing safety market and enable us to increase sales of 3M products," said Julie L. Bushman, vice president and general manager of the 3M Occupational Health & Environmental Safety Division. "Aearo will benefit from our well established global infrastructure and our network of professionals within the safety industry."

Aearo has about 1,700 employees. "We believe 3M's solid R&D technology platform and global distribution capabilities will take Aearo's successful brand to the next level and grow this business to its full potential," said Michael McLain, president and CEO of Aearo Technologies Inc. "Our two companies share a similar culture of innovation and operational excellence, and the Aearo team is excited about working with 3M colleagues around the world."

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